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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

Im new on the boards but hopefully I'll come here for some information from time to time and to help others.

I've been running my tank for about a year and a half now and have relative success. I've learned a lot along the way and Im now thinking of getting a big tank and I have two questions.

#1) If I were to move my 55G contents into a 180G tank, fish, rocks, fake plants, wood etc... what would I need to watch out for? I'd assume all of this beneficial bacteria would be enough to kickstart the system on the new 180G tank.

Would I need to put the sponge from my aquaclear or the charcoal from it into a new fluval or eheim filter (which I'd plan to buy)?

When could I add new fish? I currently have this in my 55G:
4 Plecostomus that are 2-3 years old and about 6 inches
2 livingston cichlids that are 5 and 3 inches
1 Frontosa that is 4 inches
1 Gold Severum that is 5 inches
2 Julii Cory Cat Fish that are 2 inches

#2) If I were to buy a filter system that is for say a 250-400G aquarium and strap it onto my 180G aquarium what are the benefits and disadvantages? Does it require less maintenance? Is it healthy for the fish to have that much filtration etc?

Thanks guys! Give me as much insight as possible, I'll read long winded responses no problem!
 

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I'd buy the filter first and run it in your 55 gallon for a few weeks. When you finally have the 180 gallon ready & where you want it, I'd use all the water from your existing tank into your new tank. Good luck.
 

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ALWAYS use more filtration than needed!you do not neccassarily have to, but it is good to use more filtration than needed.....Anyways, you can't overfilter..impossible.but you could have to much flow, or something like that from so many, or even 1 really powerful filter...

now, as "lestatak" noticed, and advised you, if you can, IMO, you should try to get a filter to run on your 55 for atleast 2 weeks, before starting the 180, if this is possible...
advice/IMO - it would be a great deal to use a wet/dry filter setup on a 180, because they are so large, and wet/drys are great bio-filters, and can be DIY-ed, or store bought, and set up how you like it..

Or, you could even use a Fluval FX5, canister filter, for this 180..or 2..more is better! :D
Also, try a combination - FX5, AquaClear 110.. or 2 FX5s and AquaClear 110 power filter...

or.....Marineland C-360, with FX5, and/or AC 110...
3 AC 110s
also, wet dry, FX5, AC 110.....
just some options there on great filtration....most will tell you, Wet/Dry is the way to go, and I hear the FX5s are awesome filters, even say?aquaclear 110, with wet dry could do it...
but!you can use multiple combinations of each kind of filter and use different/certain medias and get bio, chemical, and mechanical filtration.........

2. you should be able to move seeded filter, all decorations, all water and everything straight to the 180, and add the rest of the water, and add salt, buffer?, and water treatment/dechlorinator..and be fine.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks ArticCatRider

This has brought up a 2nd question. Actually two...

#1) I am relatively unfamiliar with a wet/dry filter. I use an aquaclear (70G) filter for my 50 galon tank right now. It has the simple sponge and active carbon in it.

What does a wet dry do? What kind of maintenance/how often is maintenance required and what kind of components do I need to buy regularly to run it?

#2) What do you mean by Chemical, Biological and Mechanical filtration? Active carbon deals with chemical, Biological breaks down ammonia/waste - am I correct with these two descriptions of those two types of filtration? If so, what is Mechanical Filtration in a fish tank? If I was incorrect, what are biological and chemical filtration? Or at least how would they better be described?
 

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well.....here is a site on wet drys
http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/filtra ... 090298.htm

more
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-wet-dry-filter.htm

Now..here is a site, where when you click the blue highlited "mechanical" in the article, it redirects you to another page, in which you read about mechanical filtration, and it has biological, and chemical filtration, in blue, and you can read about it all....
this is a page with wet dry filter, building your own is cheaper FYI
http://www.aquariumguys.com/aquarium-we ... lters.html

wet/drys are pretty simple...you can have a pre-filter, with a sponge, then a filter pad over your drip tray, then the water flows through that, and into, or through bio-balls/pot scrubbers.then, it enters the sump part, where you have a pump that returns it to the tank, through a spray bar.

numbers 1 and 2 should be answered by this, OR, the articles I have provided...
And, for more info, you can begin by searching through the site and check out DIY for wet/drys, and google this too...
you will find results....Aqua Clears are purty good, you could do a 110 and wet/dry you know, and have sufficient filtration
:fish: :fish: :fish:
 

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actually.............here is the site that tells about wet dry filter, I had meant to add it underneath this sentence......
"Now..here is a site, where when you click the blue highlited "mechanical" in the article, it redirects you to another page, in which you read about mechanical filtration, and it has biological, and chemical filtration, in blue, and you can read about it all.... "

here goes the site
http://www.aquariumguys.com/about-wet-dry-filters.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update!

I ended up getting a 120 gallon tank. I'm going to run a Rena XP3 on my 50 gallon for a week before I setup my 120 gallon over next weekend.

Should I do my weekly water change as per usual this weekend or will it help the 2nd filter to build up its biological filter colony?

Also, Im going to have more question along the way. I understand biological chemical and mechanical filtration now so thats all good. I might have maintenance questions now though. Speak up if what Im doing alarms you as improper! :D
 

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Sounds like you are right on track. You can still do your water change as normal, but maybe have the Xp3 on there for 2 weeks instead of just 1. In the mean time you will probably have lots to do to set up the 120; getting it positioned properly, getting the background set up, cleaning gravel/ sand.. etc.
Not sure a single Xp3 is enough for a 120.... i would use 2 of them .... or are you moving another filter from the 55 gallon.
Once the filters are moved over, and the rocks, decor etc... you should be able to add more fish to that 120 right away.

Boomr
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Boomr99, you dont think a Rena XP3 is enough? They are listed to be able to do 175 Gallons. 55 more than I got. I know more filtration is better than less for sure and I actually also have a Rena XP2 which can handle 75 Gallons. That'd put me up to 250.

What are the plusses and minuses of having that much filtration? (I've listed the pluses and minuses I can think of below)

Plusses:
-Healthier fish
-Clearer Water
-Will less water changes have to be done?
-Will I have to clean the filters less often with two of them going?
-Others?

Minuses:
-Having to clean two filters
-More current in the water from the spray bars or return from the filters
-Others?

I'm weighing the variables to see if I wanna run just the one XP3 and use the XP2 on a differnt tank potentially, or if I'll run both on my 120 Gallon. As much insight as possible would be benficial.
 

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I'm no expert, but I think many other people would agree with me that a single Xp3 on a 120 gal is not nearly enough. I would hazard to say that an Xp3 and and Xp2 would be bare minimum (IMO). Lots of people will likely suggest a wet/dry system for a tank that size. The thing to remember is that what a filter is "rated" at is not very accurate. They are calculated for gph (gallions per hour) without any filter media and no tubing. So if a filter is rated at 400 gallons per hour, you can expect closer to 250 or so when it is actually running on your tank. You should have at least 4x your tank capacity filtered every hour.... for you that's 480 gallons per hour.. real, not "rated"., minimum.
On my 55 gallon, I have an Xp2 and a built in canopy filter, total "rated" gph is 700. It is closer to 400 gph real water movement, or about 7 to 8x my tank capacity per hour.

The benifits of "over filtration" far outweigh any negatives. The more filtration the better...
I only clean my filter media once a month, and thats just a quick rinse in the water removed in a water change. I replace the sponges only when they are getting tattered and torn.
The current that would be put out by 2 Xp3's or an Xp3 and an Xp2 would not be nearly "too much" for a 120 gal. In fact I would say that you could use 1 spray bar and 1 jet nozzle and that may not be enough water movement.
I can't think of any other possible "negatives" to you running at least 2 Xp3's. Or get an Xp4 and a large HOB like an AquaClear 110. That would still be minimum.

Everyone has different ideas of what "enough filtration" is. Above is my opinion. As I said, I am by no means an expert. Hopefully others will chime in. If you don't mind doing larger, more frequent water changes and gravel cleaning, you may be comfortable with less.

Kudo's to you for getting on a site like this and asking good questions though... many people who keep large tanks don't think to ask these types of important things... and god knows the LFS's often give people bad info....

Boomr
 

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You've got excellent advice already, but just some additional - and purely subjective - points from me:

- I see no advantage in running a new filter on an old tank and then switching over, as compared to transferring the media from the old filter to the new filter and starting the new tank straight away. Transferring the media is what I've always done, it has never given me any trouble, and you get to enjoy your new tank quicker :thumb:

- HOB filters in my experience need continuous maintenance - which is why I don't use any! Canister filters according to Eheim should not be opened more than once every eight weeks. If you have to service them more often, your filter is too small for your system! In my tanks I usually don't service the filters more than twice a year, and if you have large enough filters that's really no problem - and ensures you don't disturb your beneficial bacteria more than necessary! So more filtration means less need for filter maintenance, but not less water changes. Water changes take care of things that filtration (regardless of size) can not do, for example removing nitrate.

- More current in most cases is a plus. OK, some fish - discus and angels come to mind - really don't like a strong current, but most fish do. Your plecos most definetely will enjoy it. I often find mine sitting right in front of the filter outlets.

- If you read up in the library section of this site on the different fish you have, you will quickly find out that your stocking list is less than ideal. You might want to address that in the long term, but most of us started this way, and as long as the fish seem to do ok, there is no rush to change things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks so much for the insight Boomr99 and fmueller.

I can definitely relate to the comment by boomr99 when he said that LFS staff often give poor or inaccurate information. I pretty much disregard what they say most of the time. One of them told me that Green Spotted Puffers would be fine as a community fish. Are you kidding me?

Anyways, back on track. I just realized today that 4-5x the gph of your tank size is what I'd like to acheive. I'll definitely need to reassess my setup once I get home.

fmueller, good call on the media transfering. The only media I have is from an aquaclear 70 I believe it is. This brings me to two new questions.

#1) How about an undergravel filter. This is part of my setup in my 50 gallon tank. I know some of the downfalls and plusses to them but do these have a gph type of filtration rating? How can I factor in an undergravel filter into my plans if I were to get one? I never bought the one I have brand new and have no information on it really at all.

#2) I understand the importance of water changes to reduce Nitrate but I wanted to know, now that I have a biological filter (which wasnt present in my 50 gallon since all I had was a sponge and active carbon) , does this improve the cycling of my tank to the point where water changes are less commonly needed? Or is it still a good rule of thumb to do a 20% (or so) water change every week?

Thanks again guys, Im learning a lot. I thought I knew a lot but with the introduction of new equipment, bigger tanks etc I have run into some new material that I need to learn and the lack of an instruction booklet to come along with my used stuff its hard to find everything I need. You've all been really helpful.

I definitely need to address my fish setup as mueller mentioned :) I like having fish that are less aggressive, nice looking and interesting of course, I think thats what we all like from our pets. So far its worked, I might keep going with this method but if I do have problems then I'll have to change. I'll also check out the library.
 

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On my 110 gallon tank, i have a cascade 1000, fluval 404, eheim 2217, and a aquaclear 500. Plus 2 monster powerheads. And tons of rock. A rena xp3 is not NEARLY enough, i would do at least 2 and a hob filter... My tank is literally crystal clear, fish always breed, more filtration FTW :fish:
 

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I know very little about under gravel filters, other than I have read several times on here that they are not really that good. Consider under gravel jets to help water movement at the bottom, but I don't know much about those either. You can read up on them in the Library on this site.

Having biological filtration (which should have always been there) will not reduce the amount of water changes you need to do. People will tell you the "rule of thumb" is this much water, this often.... and everyone will tell you something slightly different. To find what works for your tank, just monitor nitrate by testing every 2 or 3 days for the first several weeks. I don't like to have nitrate any higher than 40ppm in my tanks, ever. So if you did the same, you would do a water change when it measures, say 35 ppm. Don't forget to measure it again several hours after the water change. This will give you a good idea of how much nitrate dropped by doing that much of a water change (say you did 20%). If it's not low enough for your liking, do a larger change next time. After a few times, you will know exactly how much water to change and how often..... IMO, much better than listening to other people who have differnt setups (amount and type of filtration, amount, type and size of fish, will all change how fast nitrate builds up in your tank).

I also agree with fmuelller about swapping just the filter media. That is a great option if possible. I have never had a problem with my HOB's, but some people have.. so something to consider. And my fishes also love to swim in the current my Xp2 puts out.

I bet some people would say that what goby8uup has is "way over filtering". But it ain't harming anything.. the more filtration the better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Nice, thats a good point boomr99.

I've taken my readings on occassion, but I should definitely "know whats going on" a bit better. I've only ever stuck to the rule of thumbs. This will be something I'll do once my tank has been going for a little bit and my readings arent all over the place. I think that satisfies my questions at this point in time. I'm sure I'll bump this thread with a few more as I continue the setup. I appreciate it guys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Oops. Already thought of a new question. Yet this is one I'm going to encounter later but I wanna be prepared for.

When Im maintaining my filter. How exactly do I go about maintaining the biological filter component?

I know I rinse it in aquarium water, but like is there a technique? Should I scrub the tubes/stars pretty good? Should I only do half of them? etc...

Why is it important to rinse these every so often? Isn't a large biological colonoy important and more beneficial to my tank or can it get "too big" without this maintenance?
 

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NO! don't touch your biological media. Just rinse your mechanical media well in old tank water, till all the crud comes out. Leave the biological alone. DO NOT scrub them, you will lose all the good bacteria (or much of it anyway). Your tank will find it's own equilibrium and keep the right amount of bacteria it needs on its own.
Hope this helps.

Boomr
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks again Boomr99. Maybe I misread something because I read somewhere that cleaning about half of your bioligical filter every month or so would be beneficial if it was done in the removed aquarium water. Seemed kind of dumb to me too.

Another question then, would beneficial bacteria survive in a tank of brand new water minus any chlorine in it? Ie. Fresh water right out of the tap that I filtered right through a canister filter that had a developed bacteria load. Would it survive?
 
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